“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (ESV)
Welcome back to our study on the spiritual gifts! If you’re just joining us here or reading for the first time, today is the third post in a three-part mini-series on the Holy Spirit and the spiritual gifts that are given to believers. This three-part series has focused on three different categories of spiritual gifts, hopefully helping us to better understand the unique purposes and functions of each of these gifts that we have been given.
Just to quickly review, the first category was Motivational Gifts. These particular gifts are used by God in the life of a believer to help shape the perspective of the believer and motivate the believer’s words and actions. The second category we looked at was Ministry Gifts. These are gifts that God uses through the life of the believer to serve and meet the needs of others. Finally, this week we will look at Manifestation Gifts—gifts given to believers to demonstrate the supernatural power of God.
Of all of the spiritual gifts, the ones within this final category have seemed to be the most debated, and I would go so far as to say misunderstood throughout the history of the church. Because of the disagreement and/or confusion surrounding these specific spiritual gifts, some have ignored them, some have rejected them as gifts useful for today, and still others have even overemphasized the use of them. The manifestation gifts are “supernatural demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power” (from Understanding Spiritual Gifts), and they include words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy (which can also be categorized as a Motivational Gift), discerning spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
“For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 (ESV)
I don’t know where you stand in your beliefs on these particular spiritual gifts, but I would encourage you to search the Word of God to inform you about them. As followers of Jesus, our highest authority on all matters is God’s Word. Scripture should be what informs our theology and shapes our beliefs…not culture, not theologians, not politics. God can certainly use these things, but they are not the final say. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what is truth. After all, “Teacher” is one of His roles. Be humble and teachable as you approach the Word of God. It’s a posture that will always reap good results.
Knowing and understanding the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given you to use gives you purpose in God’s Kingdom. Spiritual gifts left unused do a disservice to the Church and hinder the believer from flourishing in their faith. This is such an identity issue, really. When we know who we are (and how we’ve been uniquely gifted) then we know what to do (how to glorify God by serving His Church). If God has gifted you with one of these manifestation gifts, lean into that with Him. Ask the Lord to manifest His mighty power through you for His glory. This weary world is desperate to see something more powerful and more glorious than what we’ve known.